Feelings after Bereavement
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Andrea Harber-Kelly MUKCP
24th March, 2010
Although death and bereavement are natural, it can often be hard to cope after bereavement. Death and dying can still be treated as taboo subjects. People around us can feel frightened and embarrassed by our bereavement and loss. Often friends, neighbours, colleagues and sometimes other family members try to avoid the painful feelings by keeping quiet, or may not know what to say or how to listen. This can leave bereaved people feeling alone and isolated to deal with some of the most painful emotions they have ever experienced.
Feelings after Bereavement
Some of these feelings are unexpected and we cannot necessarily prepare ourselves for them. When someone close dies, many feelings may emerge: shock, sadness, relief, despair, helplessness, anger, guilt, fear, anxiety, fatigue, abandonment or loneliness. These feelings can be very intense, sometimes overwhelming and can leave people confused and finding it hard to manage everyday life. Memories may sometimes provide comfort but at other times can remind us of how intensely we miss the person who has died. Not only do we miss the person in the present but we can also grieve what is lost for the future. Following bereavement, many people also begin to question the meaning of their life.
Support is usually needed following a bereavement, and often family and/or friends can be of great help. It can be difficult, however, to talk to those we know well about our emotions. In addition, many bereaved people receive attention and concern in the early weeks following their loss but quickly learn that to hide their feelings is more acceptance in society, generally people then feel more comfortable with them.
About Bereavement Counselling
The opportunity to talk about your feelings and emotions to someone outside your circle of family and friends can be an immense comfort and relief during this difficult time.
Bereavement counsellors have understanding and experience of the grieving process. They provide support which can help you to:
• understand your feelings
• identify additional support available
• readjust to a different life situation
People who have benefited from Bereavement Counselling include:
• People who have lost one or both parents
• People whose partners have died
• Parents whose children have died
• Women who have suffering miscarriage, inability to conceive or termination of pregnancy
• People who have lost loved ones through accidents or suicide
• Professionals who experience death in their work.
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